A beautiful find | TahoeDailyTribune.com

A beautiful find

Susan Wood
Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily Tribune Connie Kemp of San Diego holds a Christmas ornament and haggles with Thomas Beaman during a garage sale Sunday outside Beaman's Gardner Mountain home.

Men are hunters. Women are gatherers.

Sure, there are exceptions. But the sociological analogy seems to hold true in the art of yard sales, a weekend activity that thrives in South Lake Tahoe once the snow melts.

“More women tend to look more,” said Rebecca Derstine, who combed her entire Gardner Street house to display unnecessary collectibles to start anew with her fiance.

They prepared for the Sunday yard sale on one basic principle.

“If it hasn’t been used in two years, it’s gone,” she said.

The goods got the attention of Connie Kemp, who covered every inch of the front yard while her husband, Bob, sat in one of the chairs patiently waiting for her. It looked like a scene outside a clothing store dressing room.

“She does this every time,” he said.

When they visit family members on the South Shore, the San Diego couple drives a Ford Explorer – it offers plenty of space to load up the secondhand wares.

Connie Kemp, the ever-ready shopper, brings an extra suitcase for that purpose, she said, while clutching items to jazz up her Christmas decor.

It must run in the family. Her sister’s five-bedroom West Sacramento home is filled with stuff gained at yard sales, she added.

Professional yard sellers come a dime a dozen in Tahoe.

Tina Thomas said there’s even an informal club here called garage sale groupies, people who bump into each other at odd hours of the morning.

“The early bird gets the worm,” she said.

And those who have previously set up a yard sale know the drill. Derstine got up at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for her Sunday showing. After her classified ad appeared in the Tahoe Daily Tribune, one man showed up on Wednesday to look at the musical equipment.

“And he got it,” she said.

This is despite several ads pleading the avid yard sale buyers to stay clear until 8 a.m.

Plus, he missed Derstine’s killer chocolate chip cookies she baked for the occasion.

“And we have coffee,” said Hernan Diaz, a friend who piggybacked off Derstine’s garage sale with his own stuff to sell.

Diaz said he likes the atmosphere.

“Where can you go to find a G3 (computer) next to a wine rack?” he asked.

The Mac computer remained after a surge of passersby because Derstine thought people were skeptical of the reliability of mechanical merchandise.

Tim Balha’s friend, who came along for the ride and the sunbathing, said there’s a rule of thumb at garage sales to avoid buying second-hand answering machines and telephones.

However, Balha – who lives nearby – sought a compact disc player on Margaret Avenue to match the stereo receiver he bought at a yard sale last weekend.

“Three quarters of the stuff in my house is from garage sales,” Balha said.

It was Tristi Boldt’s first garage sale. And even though much was left behind since Saturday, she was grateful to make a dent in the unwanted stuff collecting dust around the house.

“It’s nice to get rid of some of the clutter,” she said.

Collectibles that once had purpose and meaning in life also made their way into boxes in the driveway. Take the hundreds of old record albums put out for the bargain hunters on Cold Creek Trail.

Valerie Duda scored the Rolling Stones’ Exile album for herself and seized a few vinyls of John Denver and The Byrds for her 60-year-old mother.

“Mom still has her turntable,” she said.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

Support Local Journalism

Your support means a better informed community. Donate today.


See more